Yesterday, my husband, John, and I did one of our favorite things: We headed to a local winery.
It was a beautiful, unseasonably warm and sunny day, and after a nice, quiet drive of about 45 minutes into the rolling hills of almost-Western Maryland (and a lot of help from our GPS) we arrived at a large, reddish-brown building. It sort of resembled a barn, but with lots of windows and a statue out front. (According to the winery website, it is in fact a 19th-century barn.)
Did we “want to join the tour?” the girl at the welcome desk asked. It had just left and we had time to catch up. Also, it was free.
“Sure,” we shrugged and made our way through a room of giant, stainless steel vats of wine.
Most of the technical details of how they grow grapes and harvest and produce wine went over my head, kind of like high school chemistry. But some of the numbers stood out. Linganore grows seven to nine varieties of grapes and uses other, locally grown grapes and fruit to create more than 25 wines. It produces about 600,000 bottles a year. First, however, the grape and fruit spends 12 to 18 months in 5,600- and 500-gallon stainless-steel tanks. A 5,600-gallon tank holds about 30 tons of grapes, and produces around 28,000 bottles.
Then came the fun part: the tasting. I regularly buy a few of Linganore’s varieties (Terrapin White, Mountain White and Skipjack) at our local wine store, so I knew the wine would be good. I have to confess, though, that as much as I like drinking wine, I can’t speak that intelligently about it. I can tell if a wine is sweet or dry and whether it would go with steak or chicken, but unless it’s flavored with something like raspberry or chocolate, I can’t identify all the notes and undertones.
John, however, fancies himself quite the connoisseur and jokes (sort of) about the wine.
“That could be my dinner,” he exclaimed after tasting the Chambourcin, a rich and full-bodied red according to the tasting sheet and his favorite of the day. “It’s like being in an oak barrel and saying I like being in here.”
My favorite was the Mountain Pink, which according to Linganore, is semi-sweet blush that tastes “like just-pickled grapes.” I wouldn’t know. I just know that it was delicious. We went home with a bottle of each, as well as the Bacioni, a Chianti-style red, to go with our ravioli dinner.
I was also a big fan of the local Maryland cheeses Linganore paired with each wine. Especially the chive and garlic cheese from Chapel’s Country Creamery in Easton, Md. If I wasn’t on a diet, I would have bought a whole block. Yum.
More later. Cheers!